“Hi, I’m calling you from Windows Technical Support!”
If you work in IT, or even if you just know computers and the Internet, chances are this line is something you’ve heard before. It’s the opening line from a scam operation that has been underway for many years, mostly out of India, and has managed to get a lot of money from thousands of unsuspecting computer users all around the world. It plays on some very basic fears and uncertainties, and it’s surprisingly effective. Even people whom we would consider smart and intelligent have fallen victim to this type of call.
But why are these scam calls so effective, and how do we spot them? And, more importantly, how can you prepare your parents, friends and family, so that if and when they do receive this call, they can quickly identify it as a scam, and they can know why they shouldn’t trust what these people say? Because often times, it’s not enough to just say “Don’t talk to strangers”, you have to be able to explain to them how these people are trying to scam them. So let’s go through the scam to see how it works, and what we can do about it.
The basic idea behind this type of call is very simple. These companies are based in foreign countries and pay an army of low salary workers to call random people in the US, Europe, and everywhere else in the developed world. Their goal is to hit someone with a Windows based computer, and by calling a random number in the west, chances are they will hit a potential target. Then, the script they use is aimed at scaring those people into believing what they say, and then fork over cash.